Diet and mental health survey

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  • Your diet and your brain - please tick the closest option 54

    1. Vegetarian and have past/current problems with depression or mental health (13) 24%
    2. Vegan and have past/current problems with depression or mental health (1) 2%
    3. Pescatarian and have past/current problems with depression or mental health (0) 0%
    4. Omnivorous and have past/current problems with depression or mental health (19) 35%
    5. Poor/junk food diet and have past/current problems with depression or mental health. (4) 7%
    6. Vegetarian and my mental health has always been fine. (2) 4%
    7. Vegan and my mental health has always been fine. (2) 4%
    8. Pescatarian and my mental health has always been fine. (2) 4%
    9. Omnivorous and my mental health has always been fine. (10) 19%
    10. Poor/junk food diet and my mental health has always been fine. (1) 2%

    Do you think your diet has affected your mental health in any way, either positive or negative?


    I've been doing some reading into diet and mental health and am curious about the eating habits of people on here - particularly different levels of vegetarianism and whether there are any correlating mental health / depression issues.


    The poll is anonymous, and I know the results will be inconclusive ... I'm simply curious about any statistical correlation. It's mostly aimed at your health during your current diet, but if the issues have always been there, or have changed along with your diet, it'll be cool if you can explain - actually feel free to explain anything you wish.




    (A pescatarian is someone who is largely veggie but still eats fish)

  • I do find that, as a diabetic, if my blood sugar goes to high, I become very aggressive and obnoxious. A lot of the problems may be due to poor blood glucose control and may be an indication of diabetes.

  • On a more serious note, I think its often been mentioned about the behaviour of young people who consume to much caffeine and e numbers. I certainly don't think it's unreasonable that would affect adults.


    I generally feel quite good about myself when I'm eating well, although I don't know if that's a chicken and egg thing...when I'm a bad place, I don't tend to take care of myself in a way that's conductive to healthy living.

  • Definitely saw the difference in my boys when I put them on a fresh food diet only. Remove all the plastic wrapped, coloured, sugar laden junk and they stopped arguing, fighting, etc and become really studious when in school.


    I found when I was anaemic that I became really down, but not sure if that was just exhaustion kickback.

  • my mental health is loads better since eating a whole food diet which includes all food groups but excludes alot of chemical additives and preservatives from my diet... not sure what box to tick...

  • I have always been fairly grounded.... the last 4 years have not been so good, where stress meant I hit the comfort cupboard big style, and THAT affected my health and mind... Now I am on a healthy food plan, and have lost 21lb so far, and feel so much better, healthwise and mentally. I still have my maltesers sometimes, but not the entire box.. I buy the smallest packet, 'tis my treat if I lose weight that week. I still eat meat, but nowhere near the amount i was eating....i'm not ready to go totally veggie yet.

  • I ticked the veggie and mental health issues box, as I have suffered a fair bit from depression and anxiety. I can trace the roots of a lot of the problems to way before I became veggie, so I think it's more of a coincidence than diet related mental health problems.

    “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” -Mark Twain

  • I still have my maltesers sometimes, but not the entire box.. I buy the smallest packet, 'tis my treat if I lose weight that week. I still eat meat, but nowhere near the amount i was eating....i'm not ready to go totally veggie yet.


    I found that replacing chocolate cravings with Omega rich food (in my case mackerel) worked a treat, as that is what our body is craving. It also helped me level out my monthly urges to kill :P I still have the occasional treat, but no cravings or manic urges.

  • I found that replacing chocolate cravings with Omega rich food (in my case mackerel) worked a treat, as that is what our body is craving. It also helped me level out my monthly urges to kill :P I still have the occasional treat, but no cravings or manic urges.

    mmm. i love oily fish..I shall make sure i have that in my cupboard permanantly... Thank you...:))

  • I would also like to add to this by saying that when my mental health isn't great I tend to eat rubbish food, which may in turn make me feel even worse because I always feel crappy afterwards. I think it can be very hard to distinguish if it is a cause or an affect sometimes.

  • ditto magicmel! when i feel crap i want to eat crap and then i feel more crap.
    I ate a whole jar of nutella in two days because of stress/feeling ill and then felt sick and fat too :P
    If I feel good I don't want to eat crap, I want to make healthy things and eat fruit and do exercise. Which makes me feel a LOT better. I dunno how to get into and stay in that 'good' cycle though!
    The lure of misery and chocolate is perhaps too great for my weak soul.

    we reenact Noah's ancient drama, but in reverse, like a film running backwards, the animals exiting

  • I was vegitatian but ticked the omnibvourous box as that is what I am now.


    Quote

    I think its often been mentioned about the behaviour of young people who consume to much caffeine and e numbers. I certainly don't think it's unreasonable that would affect adults.


    Coffee especially. Since being pregnant I have pretty much stopped drinking coffee and now only really drink decaffeinated teas, a cuppa normal tea in the morning and the very odd coffee if I am at a friends house. The difference I feel like this has made is massive and I wont be going back to drinking loads of coffee again once baby is born. All it takes is one cup of strong coffee and I can tell I feel increased anxiety.


    I bought a Patrick Holfield book a while ago about optimum nutrition and mental health and although I do not follow his advice rigorously since considering his advice I have been a lot better. If something bad happens and I slack into eating junk for a few days I begin waking up feeling unmotivated and sad in the mornings.

  • I'm not sure what I can draw out of this poll at present.


    The thing that prompted me was finding an article that linked vegetarianism to depression and mental health issues, but didn't actually cause it - it rather stated that people who chose "alternative" dietary practices were more likely to have pre-existing conditions before making that choice.


    It was also loosely linked into my yet unanswered question on Omega 3 which I guess must be too scientific for most people.

  • As for omega 3, I don't think it has much affect on most mental health issues, its a very loose term really, your going from circumstance depression, which yes can be helped by diet improvement, to long term enduring conditions, that's one hell of an umbrella. Interestingly specific on diet, but an apple a day will not make much difference in a psychotic episode.

  • Elfie, I'm not convinced its the food that's affecting you, think about a cbt approach, your eating crap because you feel crap, then by doing so you then feel physically crappy, that's your brain doing that, not the nutella.

  • As for omega 3, I don't think it has much affect on most mental health issues, its a very loose term really, your going from circumstance depression, which yes can be helped by diet improvement, to long term enduring conditions, that's one hell of an umbrella. Interestingly specific on diet, but an apple a day will not make much difference in a psychotic episode.


    No an apple a day wouldn't, but a serious over hall of diet with a lot of consideration into nutrition along side supplementation to get maximum nutirtion could potentially improve the condition. That Patrick Holfield book I read talks about nutrition improving schizophrenia patients and the book was recommended to me by a friend who swears that following his advice strictly is the reason she no longer has to take medication for her schizophrenia to keep it under control.

  • I am going to get that book Kaiya, I really think that nutrition is the answer to most problems.


    I follow the "eat what your body craves" fashion, always have done, and was lucky that I had a very loving sister who quite happily gave me her sprouts in exchange for my meat as a kid. On my second pregnancy I craved all weird chemical smells, fresh news print, wood preserver, creosote etc, and was getting more and more down, then someone turned up with tinned mackerel, (I had been a vegetarian for 12 year at this point) and that was it, that was what my body had craved for the previous 3 months. I have eaten fish on and off since then. 4 years ago I was becoming more and more exhausted, swollen ankles and wanting to burst into tear at the slightest thing and the dr's were crap, and I was suddenly craving eggs,(which I had not eaten since I was 15) nettle tea and spinach etc, turned out I was seriously anaemic, and my stupid Dr's had ignored all the signs as I am tall, female and vegetarian.........so they expected my HG to be low, but my ferratin was practically zero, and only the healthy food I was eating was keeping me going. I find that if you are craving junk, then your body is screaming for oil rich foods, which is probably some serious Omega 3 foods. Saying that, I sat and ate a tub of celebrations last week and a huge docking pizza, cos I could :) I also find that if my memory is getting crap then I am getting low on Vitamin b's and iron, and have to take a few tablets now, as I cannot give up my cups of extra strong assam tea :)

  • I really think that nutrition is the answer to most problems.

    I do too, most definitely. However, for people who are veggie finding the right nutrition isn't always as easy ... not that it can't be done, but it's often more expensive and the right food is less available. Plus there's often a lot more "hear say" than there is actual science.


    I've also seen plenty of people who are long-term veggie go back to omni or pesci diets because of healthcare recommendations - and personally speaking I've also been toying with the idea of eating fish again recently - or at least taking a fish oil supplement ... but at this point in time my conscience is far more powerful than any actual need.


    I have to do a lot more research before I alter my values.

  • I think if I had eaten a lot more seeds and been able to stomach tofu when pregnant my story may have been different, but it was a long time ago, my baby was 18 last month. I used to have a really good book, "why you don't need to eat meat" that went into the nutrition, and how different foods worked together. I may try to find a copy of that again.

  • Quote from Paul

    I've also seen plenty of people who are long-term veggie go back to omni or pesci diets because of healthcare recommendations


    I put up a thread a while back about having insane meat cravings after being veggie for decades and how the clash between my morals and my health needs was doing my head in. The only thing that stopped me eating chicken at that point was that the only place I could get it from (asda) only had chicken from abroad and the immorality of that was a line I couldnt cross at that point. Those cravings have been gone a while now,I started a B vitamin supplement,upped my consumption of cream cakes/calorie rich food and reintroduced cheese and my brain stopped wanting me to kill furry bunnies to devour. But it was very odd and disturbing while it was happening.


    If its depression/lethargy type issues that youre looking at diet for have you considered a vitamin D supplement? Studies show the majority of people in this country (40yr olds were tested) have 'clinically deficient' levels in their blood and although I suspect the clinical levels are wrong rather than that we're all deficient it is something that drops in winter and thats difficult to get from a veggie diet. My son has suffered from obvious winter depression since he was about 7yrs old and this year hes been taking an oral vit D spray daily and his crash was delayed by a couple of months despite our weather being pretty rubbish and lacking in sunlight. That may or may not be connected to the vit D but I've been taking it too and its not given me any of the side effects I got from trying fish oils for the same purpose so it doesnt seem to be a dangerous experiment in any way. And being a mouth spray also means it bypasses any digestive issues that make absorption difficult which is also something worth considering when looking at diet because just because we swallow something doesnt mean our body can use it well.
    http://www.betteryou.uk.com/DLux-1000

  • I've noticed my memory isn't as great as it used to be ... not long term stuff, but little things like forgetting where I put stuff, remembering to reply to letters or returning phone calls etc. I've had a lot going on lately which has left me feeling a bit "cluttered" and frustrated with my forgetfullness, so have been thinking about my diet in relation to being a bit more clear minded.


    However, I doubt I'm deficient in any vitamins (except maybe B12) because I do eat my greens and lots of them - I'm not discounting it though, but I believe there's a bigger possibility of other defiencies like DHA omega 3 for instance.

  • I have started taking flax oil supplements..been taking them for a while, i seem to not forget so much, but that could be coincidental as the drama queen teen left home and all is now calm.. Going to keep taking it tho.

  • The thing that prompted me was finding an article that linked vegetarianism to depression and mental health issues, but didn't actually cause it - it rather stated that people who chose "alternative" dietary practices were more likely to have pre-existing conditions before making that choice.


    Not read beyond the abstract but not surprised to hear that there's a statistical correlation there... rather than any kind of causal link, to me it simply suggests that vegetarianism is likely to appeal to people of a self aware (for want of a better phrase) mindset, and that same type of self-awareness is commonly present in those with certain types of mental health problems. Don't like the phrase self-aware there at all actually... hope people get what I mean, can't think of a better way to put it right now.


    It would be fascinating to see a study which somehow accounted for the motivations for omnivorism / vegetarianism in western society to expose the existence (or not) of a causal, non psychological link between the two. I wonder if there's a culture anywhere that could be used to study this... for instance one where vegetarianism was more likely to be dictated by religious, socioeconomic or cultural factors than by attitudes (as it mostly is in our society).


    I couldn't find a box to tick as I'm mostly veggie / pesky but do from time to time cross the road and eat some (but not all) dead animals.


    I do (probably naively) perceive myself as being sharper / better at certain tasks (both intellectual, and emotional ones) if I have a good fish binge after a long period of exclusively veggie eating. Obviously lots of reasons I might be imagining this though.


    Will be watching poll results, and (hopefully) future academic research with interest.

  • I've also been toying with the idea of eating fish again recently


    Me too, but I doubt I will. I started eating fish again in 2007, for about a year, but that was because I had an eating disorder and was really struggling with it. I stopped easily enough. This time I'm just getting bored with my food and a little concerned that I'm not getting enough essential nutrients.


    I have had episodes of depression, which started after I turned veggie. However, they also coincided with the breakdown of a damaging relationship, so that is more likely the main cause. The end of the relationship started up my eating disorder, although it wasn't the first time it had occurred. That, in turn, must have led to a lack of certain nutrients and eccentuated my depression.

  • I ticked veggie and mental health problems. I've been veggie since I was five, and had mental health problems since I was about twelve/thirteen (we think). I take omega supplements (in the form of flaxseed oil) to help with schizophrenia and I really do think it helps. I usually take 3000mg a night, alongside other meds. I do however feel I should work on my diet more though, since becoming a student again I seem to be eating a lot of rubbish food :(